Customizing Digital Speech Therapy Activities with Google Slides
When I first heard of Google Slides being used in teletherapy, I was underwhelmed at the idea of somehow adapting a slideshow-making application for virtual speech therapy. It just didn't seem that a presentation could be all that.... interactive? But the tides have turned, and now I gaze in wonder at the flexibility of using Google Slides... and wonder how I ever survived without it!
With interactive elements such as movable images and clickable links, Google Slides activities have tons of capabilities for telepractice, and speech therapy in general. But what really swept me off my feet (er, my teletherapy chair?) is the ability to personalize the presentations for each student.
Unlike any other digital resource format that I've used, Google Slides activities have limitless potential to customize. It is so simple to add your own text and pictures. Okay, that might not sound like something worthy of so much praise, but when you see what's possible, you'll be sliding right on over to use them for yourself!
No boring presentations here! Read on for tons of ways you can create individualized speech therapy activities using the (free!) Google Slides application.
One of SLPs biggest pain points has to be trying to find activities with articulation targets that are relevant and functional. But with these speech sound books, which are basically digital, personalized articulation cards, that is last year's problem! For each student, set up a presentation that they (and you) can add words to that contain their target sound. Instead of using articulation cards or lists with random words, you can use words that are meaningful.
Think pet names, favorite teams, vacation destinations, and curricular vocabulary. You can also add pictures (from the computer, the internet, or taken right from the device's camera) to really make it personal and help elicit more speech. As the year goes on, you just keep adding to the presentation. What about homework? Check that off, because students can also access it at home to practice!
Adding personalized pictures is also the name of the game for this Digital Experience Book. For young children in language or auditory verbal therapy, sharing a Google Slides presentation with parents allows them to contribute pictures and descriptions of the child's recent experiences. There's nothing more powerful (or functional!) than encouraging a child to communicate about real-life events.
Another way to empower children with hearing loss is to help them make a presentation to share with others. This template in Google Slides walks you through adding your own photos and filling text boxes in order to teach peers and school personnel about the child's hearing loss. Helping a student personalize the presentation is a huge portion of this self-advocacy activity!
As SLPs working with older students likely already know, finding motivating activities is crucial., but also quite difficult! Games are highly engaging for students, and especially if you can add elements unique to the student. This guessing game is completely editable in Google Slides, so you can add all of your own pictures and words.
Whether you add photos of classmates, favorite foods, or video game characters, every student has some high-interest topics. Once you spend a few minutes creating a custom game (using this template or your own creativity), you have that game to use forever!
Being able to quickly input target words that fit a student's specific needs into a game is another way to ensure your students aren't bored or detached from the activity. In this Articulation Ships game, you can use the pre-made text boxes to type any words you'd like your student to practice in the session.
Another great feature of Google Slides presentations is that your place is saved when you exit. Games like this Articulation Dots and Boxes game might require more than one session. As a recommendation for fast and easy "clean-up" of the digital pieces after playing – After the target words have been entered but before playing the game, name the version so you can revert to it in just a couple of clicks when the game is over!
A custom activity in Google Slides might be as simple as a digital sticker book (grab a free one here!) where you add any stickers you want, such as a student's favorite foods or characters. Of course this works as a reinforcer, but there's so much language within digital stickers activities as well.
Adapting a presentation in Google Slides is also a great way to provide structure within your sessions. This resource puts a digital spin on circle time with text boxes that can be filled in with the day's schedule, theme, and reminders. You can also add pictures to show the schedule or the day's key vocabulary words in order to tailor it to exactly what meets your needs.
Similarly, Google Slides templates make it easy to create a custom first (or last) day of speech activity with your own photos and text. You can also add links, such as a link to the website or a video showing a place you traveled to over the summer. Do this by clicking on a photo or text box, clicking 'Insert' on the Menu Toolbar, clicking 'Link', and pasting the link into the box.
Resources that open in Google Slides are unlike any other digital speech therapy activities in that they are full of potential to personalize to your students and sessions. With the capability to add your own images and text, you can make each activity exactly what you need it to be!